ISLAMABAD: The Iraqi government has allowed around 5,000 Pakistani pilgrims, who were stranded on its border with Iran for the last few days, to enter the Gulf country, the Pakistani interior ministry said on Sunday.
The Iraqi government recently announced that Pakistani pilgrims arriving for Arbaeen, the religious observance that occurs 40 days after the death of Imam Hussain (RA) on the 10th of Muharram, could only enter the country through Baghdad and Najaf airports, according to Pakistani state media.
The Iraqi government said it had been unable to make sufficient arrangements for pilgrims, after which thousands of Pakistanis were stranded on the Iran-Iraq border.
Pakistan’s interior minister Rana Sanaullah took up the matter in a telephonic call with his Iraqi counterpart Osman Ali Farhoud and requested him to allow entry to these stranded pilgrims, the Pakistani interior ministry said on Sunday.
“On the request of Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, [his] Iraqi counterpart Osman Ali Farhoud announced opening all entry points for Pakistani pilgrims,” the Pakistani interior ministry said in a statement.
It said the Iraqi interior minister also announced immediate processing of all pending visa applications submitted by Pakistani pilgrims.
The Pakistani and Iraqi interior ministers agreed to constitute a joint committee for a long-term resolution of different issues, according to the statement.
They agreed to take steps to improve coordination between both ministries and for the promotion of Pakistan-Iraq ties.